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Business expanding at Conover Square

Vintage Cupboard moving to spot being vacated by two other stores

OREGON – Changes are taking place at Conover Square.

The shopping center at 201 N. Third St. has one business moving and expanding, and two businesses leaving.

The Vintage Cupboard will move to another suite later this month or early next month, giving the antique store about twice the space, owner Mike Grasso said.

The store, which specializes in mid-century items, is moving to the spot now occupied by Basket Beginnings and Mona Lisa’s Boutique, which are closing.

It’s a second expansion for The Vintage Cupboard, which opened in August 2011 and moved to its current space in March. Mike, 43, and his wife, Shari Kratz-Grasso, 50, who makes candles that they also sell, live in Lost Nation.

After the expansion, the store will rent booth space to other sellers. A seating area with a wireless Internet access is in the works, and Grasso plans to sell sodas and snacks.

There also will be a section with ghost-hunting equipment – he also runs Conover Square Ghost Tours.

They hope to have evening events and host vintage game nights or bring in entertainers.

“We’d like to see Conover Square become an evening destination,” said Grasso, who hopes to be done wtih the move by the end of January.

Basket Beginnings is closing Dec. 22; owner Linda Hinkelmann plans to retire, or semi-retire, although she will continue to cane chair seats out of her Byron home and teach basket weaving, she said.

Hinkelmann, 60, decided to retire to enjoy a granddaughter who turns 1 in February, and because Indonesia has banned the export of weave, which has made the material hard for her to come by, she said.

She has supplied weave and other materials for other weavers since opening 6 years ago, but her supply houses no longer carry it, she said.

“It’s become a nationwide problem. There are lots of things you can weave with, it’s just what we’ve become accustomed to.”

Mona Lisa’s Boutique clothing consignment shop has a time-share agreement with Basket Beginnings, and so also will close at the end of the month, said owner Angie Theisen, who has accepted a new job working from home for Abercrombie & Fitch.

About the shops

The Vintage Cupboard is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, although after the move, he plans stay open into the evening about 2 days a week and adding days, owner Mike Grasso he said.

Call 815-732-7100, go to or find it on Facebook for more information.
Basket Beginnings will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Owner Linda Hinkelmann will expand hours next week, working from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, her last day at Conover Square.

Call 815-732-7181 to reach the store or 815-985-4810 to reach Hinkelmann after Dec. 22.

Mona Lisa’s Boutique offers clothes, purses and new, handmade jewelry. Call 815-732-3653 for more information.

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